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10 Best Leg Workout Exercises

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The best leg workout exercises include Squats, Lunges, Deadlifts, Leg presses, Leg Curls, Step-Ups, Calf Raises, Plyometric Exercises, and Bulgarian Split Squats. In the pursuit of a strong and sculpted lower body, the best leg exercises are the cornerstone of any fitness regimen, and they are your ticket to powerful, well-defined legs that command attention.

  • Squats: Squats are a classic compound exercise that targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. They are highly effective in building strength and muscle mass in your legs.
  • Lunges: Lunges are great for enhancing lower body stability and strength. You can perform forward, reverse, or lateral lunges to work different muscle groups.
  • Deadlifts: While primarily considered a back exercise, deadlifts also engage your hamstrings and glutes. They are essential for developing overall lower body strength.
  • Leg Press: The leg press machine provides a controlled environment for strengthening your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. It’s a fantastic option for beginners.
  • Leg Curls: Leg curls are excellent for targeting the hamstrings. You can perform lying leg curls, seated leg curls, or standing leg curls, depending on your gym equipment.
  • Step-Ups: Step-ups are a functional exercise that works the quadriceps, glutes, and calves. You can use a bench, box, or step platform for this exercise.
  • Calf Raises: To complete your lower body workout, don’t forget to work on your calf muscles. Calf raises can be done on a machine or with body weight, and they help you achieve well-rounded leg development.
  • Plyometric Exercises: Incorporate plyometric exercises like box jumps and jump squats to boost your leg power and explosiveness.
  • Bulgarian Split Squats: This single-leg exercise is fantastic for building leg strength and balance. It targets the quads and glutes while also working on stability.
  • Wall Sits: Wall sits are an isometric exercise that challenges your leg endurance. They are a great addition to your leg workout routine.

 

We understand that achieving powerful, well-defined legs is a goal many aspire to but often struggle to attain. That’s why PTSPOT has tailored its services to meet your unique needs and help you overcome any hurdles you face.

 

Leg muscles, particularly the quadriceps, are some of the largest muscle groups in the human body. The quadriceps, consisting of four distinct muscles, play a crucial role in various activities, including walking, running, and jumping. Regular leg workout exercises can help improve not only strength but also functional movement and overall athletic performance. Let’s read more below-

 

Squats: One of the best leg exercises

By including a variety of squats in your leg workout routine, you can target different muscle groups and add variety to your training. The best fitness instructors stress the importance of form and technique to maximise the benefits of these exercises while minimising the risk of injury.

Squats

 

Standard Squats

How to Do It:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keep your back straight, chest up, and core engaged.
  3. Slowly bend your knees and hips, lowering your body as if you are sitting back in a chair.
  4. Go as low as your flexibility allows, ideally until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  5. Push through your heels to return to the starting position.

Sets and Reps:

  • Beginners: Start with 2-3 sets of 12-16 reps.
  • Intermediate: Aim for 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.
  • Advanced: Challenge yourself with 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps.

Tip from our Fitness Instructor:

To ensure proper form, emphasise the importance of maintaining a neutral spine and tracking the knees in line with the toes. Push through your heels, engaging the glutes and quadriceps.

 

Goblet Squats

How to Do It: 

  1. Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell close to your chest with both hands.
  2. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  3. Perform the squat as described in standard squats, keeping the weight close to your body.

Sets and Reps:

  • Beginners: Start with 2-3 sets of 12-16 reps.
  • Intermediate: Aim for 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.
  • Advanced: Challenge yourself with 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps.

Tip from our Fitness Instructor:

Use goblet squats as an excellent way to learn and perfect squat form while also adding resistance. The weight placement in front of the body can help them maintain an upright posture.

 

Sumo Squats

How to Do It:

  1. Take a wide stance with your toes pointed slightly outward.
  2. Keep your back straight and chest up.
  3. Perform the squat, lowering your body while maintaining the wide stance.

Sets and Reps:

  • Beginners: Start with 2-3 sets of 12-16 reps.
  • Intermediate: Aim for 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.
  • Advanced: Challenge yourself with 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps.

Tip from our Fitness Instructor:

Remember that sumo squats target the inner thighs more effectively. Focus on keeping the knees in line with the toes to prevent excessive strain on the knees.

 

Bulgarian Split Squats

How to Do It:

  1. Stand about two feet in front of a bench or platform.
  2. Place one foot behind you on the bench.
  3. Lower your body into a lunge, ensuring your front knee is directly above your ankle.
  4. Push through your front heel to return to the starting position.

Sets and Reps:

  • Beginners: Start with 2-3 sets of 12-16 reps on each leg.
  • Intermediate: Aim for 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps on each leg.
  • Advanced: Challenge yourself with 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps on each leg.

Tip from our Fitness Instructor:

If you are looking to work on single-leg strength and balance, Bulgarian split squats are an excellent choice. Make sure they maintain good balance and keep their core engaged throughout the exercise.

 

Lunges: Another leg day workout

Incorporating these lunge variations into your leg workout routine will help you train your legs completely and promote muscle growth while enhancing lower leg strength and stability. Fitness instructors will guide you through these exercises with proper form and technique to achieve the best results.

Lunges

 

Forward Lunges

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Take a step forward with your right foot, ensuring your knee is at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Lower your body until your left knee almost touches the ground.
  4. Push through your right heel to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat with your left leg. This completes one repetition.

Sets and Reps:

  • Beginners: Start with 2-3 sets of 12-16 reps on each leg.
  • Intermediate: As you advance, increase the intensity to 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps on each leg.
  • Advanced: Challenge yourself with 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps on each leg.

Tip from our Fitness Instructor:

Emphasise the importance of maintaining proper posture throughout the exercise. Ensure you keep your back straight, core engaged, and your front knee doesn’t extend past their toes. This prevents unnecessary strain and maximises the benefits of the lunge.

 

Reverse Lunges

How to do it:

  1. Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Step backwards with your right foot and lower your body until both knees form a 90-degree angle.
  3. Push off your right foot to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat with your left leg, completing one repetition.

Sets and Reps:

  • Beginners: Begin with 2-3 sets of 12-16 reps per leg.
  • Intermediate: Progress to 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.
  • Advanced: Challenge yourself with 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps.

Tip from our Fitness Instructor:

Focus on your balance and stability. Reverse lunges engage the quadriceps and hamstrings while also challenging the core for balance. Use this exercise to develop well-rounded leg strength.

 

Walking Lunges

How to do it:

  1. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Take a step forward with your right foot and perform a lunge.
  3. While in the lunge position, step forward with your left foot and perform another lunge.
  4. Continue alternating between legs in a walking motion.

Sets and Reps:

  • Beginners: Start with 2-3 sets of 12-16 reps on each leg.
  • Intermediate: Aim for 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps on each leg.
  • Advanced: Challenge yourself with 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps on each leg.

Tip from our Fitness Instructor:

If you are looking to boost your leg muscle growth and endurance, walking lunges are an excellent choice. Make sure you maintain a steady pace and use proper form throughout the movement, focusing on a full range of motion for each lunge.

 

Lateral Lunges

How to do it:

  1. Begin by standing with your feet together.
  2. Step to the right with your right foot, keeping your left foot in placLower your body to the right by bending your right knee while keeping your left leg straight.
  3. Push off your right foot and return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat on the left side, completing one repetition.

Sets and Reps:

  • Beginners: Start with 2-3 sets of 12-16 reps.
  • Intermediate: Gradually increase the intensity to 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.
  • Advanced: Challenge yourself with 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps.

Tips from our Fitness Instructor:

Stress the importance of proper technique in lateral lunges. Focus on the inner and outer thigh engagement. Emphasise maintaining balance and not letting the knees go beyond the toes. This exercise can be especially beneficial for those looking to target specific leg muscles.

 

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Deadlifts

Incorporating these deadlift variations into your leg workout routine will help you build muscle and strength in your major leg muscles while also enhancing overall lower body development. Always prioritise proper form and consult with a fitness professional to ensure you’re performing these exercises safely and effectively.

deadlifts

 

Conventional Deadlifts

How to Do It:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, with the barbell over the centre of your feet.
  2. Bend at your hips and knees to lower your body and grip the bar with both hands, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Keep your chest up and back straight, and engage your core.
  4. Lift the bar by straightening your hips and knees, extending your body fully.
  5. Lower the bar by hinging at your hips and bending your knees.

Sets and Reps:

  • Beginners: 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions
  • Intermediate: 4 sets of 6-8 repetitions
  • Advanced: 5 sets of 4-6 repetitions

Tips from our Fitness Instructor: For the best leg exercises, especially targeting the hamstrings and glutes, the conventional deadlift is a powerhouse. To build bigger and stronger legs, maintain a neutral spine, and focus on using your hips to lift the weight. Proper form is paramount to avoid injury.

 

Sumo Deadlifts

How to Do It:

  1. Position your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed slightly outward.
  2. Grip the barbell on your knees with both hands.
  3. Keep your back straight, chest up, and core engaged.
  4. Lift the bar by extending your hips and knees, then lower it with control.

Sets and Reps:

  • Beginners: 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions
  • Intermediate: 4 sets of 6-8 repetitions
  • Advanced: 5 sets of 4-6 repetitions

Tips from our Fitness Instructor:

Sumo deadlifts are excellent for building strength in the inner thighs and lower back. To maximise results, maintain a wide stance, and ensure your knees track over your toes. Use a challenging weight while keeping your form impeccable.

 

Romanian Deadlifts

How to Do It:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and grip the barbell with both hands in front of your thighs.
  2. Keep your knees slightly bent and maintain a straight back.
  3. Hinge at your hips to lower the barbell down the front of your legs.
  4. Keep the bar close to your body and lower it as far as your flexibility allows.
  5. Return to the starting position by extending your hips.

Sets and Reps:

  • Beginners: 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions
  • Intermediate: 4 sets of 6-8 repetitions
  • Advanced: 5 sets of 4-6 repetitions

Tips from our Fitness Instructor:

Romanian deadlifts are a fantastic leg exercise, emphasising the hamstrings and lower back. For optimal muscle engagement, focus on the stretch and squeeze in your hamstrings during each rep. Maintain control and use proper technique throughout.

 

Leg Press: Train your legs and build bigger!

Including these leg press variations in your leg day workout will provide you with a comprehensive lower body training regimen. Consult with a fitness professional to ensure your leg form is correct and to determine the appropriate weight to challenge your fitness level. Remember, consistent practice and proper technique are key to achieving your leg development goals.

leg press

 

Standard Leg Press Machine

How to Do It:

  1. Sit on the leg press machine with your back firmly against the backrest and your feet hip-width apart on the footplate.
  2. Release the safety bar and extend your legs, pushing the weight away from you.
  3. Bend your knees to lower the weight, maintaining control until your knees form a 90-degree angle.
  4. Push the weight back up to the starting position without locking your knees.

Sets and Reps:

  • Beginners: 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions
  • Intermediate: 4 sets of 6-8 repetitions
  • Advanced: 5 sets of 4-6 repetitions

Tips from our Fitness Instructor:

To maximise the effectiveness of the standard leg press, focus on pushing through your heels and engaging your quads, hamstrings, and glutes throughout the entire range of motion. Ensure your knees stay aligned with your toes, and avoid locking them out at the top. Start with a weight that challenges you but allows for proper form.

 

Single-Leg Leg Press

How to Do It:

  1. Sit on the leg press machine with one foot on the footplate and the other foot elevated or resting on the floor.
  2. Push the weight using one leg while keeping the other leg off the footplate.
  3. Lower the weight to a 90-degree knee angle and push it back up.

Sets and Reps:

  • Beginners: 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions per leg
  • Intermediate: 4 sets of 6-8 repetitions per leg
  • Advanced: 5 sets of 4-6 repetitions per leg

Tips from our Fitness Instructor:

The single-leg leg press is an excellent choice for targeting muscle imbalances and enhancing stability. Focus on controlling the movement and engaging your working leg’s muscles to their fullest. Start with a lower weight than the standard leg press since this variation is more demanding on a single leg.

 

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Leg Curls: Another effective leg workout

how to do Leg Curl

 

Lying Leg Curls

How to do it:

  1. Adjust the machine to your body’s proportions and select an appropriate weight.
  2. Lie down, facing the floor, with your legs fully extended.
  3. Place your ankles under the padded curling bar and grip the handles for support.
  4. Flex your knees to curl your legs upward, keeping your upper legs stationary.
  5. Squeeze your hamstrings at the top of the movement.
  6. Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.

Sets and Reps:

  • Beginners: 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.
  • Intermediate: 4 sets of 8-10 repetitions.
  • Advanced: 5 sets of 6-8 repetitions.

Tips from our Fitness Instructor: 

Incorporate leg curls into your leg day workout to target the hamstrings, one of the major muscles in your legs. To maximise effectiveness, focus on the contraction and squeeze of your hamstrings during each repetition. Maintain control and avoid using momentum to lift the weight. This ensures that the muscles are doing the work, not momentum.

 

Seated Leg Curls

How to do it:

  1. Adjust the machine and select the right weight for your fitness level.
  2. Sit on the machine with your back against the backrest and your legs fully extended.
  3. Position your ankles under the padded curling lever.
  4. Flex your knees to curl the lever downward, focusing on contracting your hamstrings.
  5. Control the weight as you return to the starting position.

Sets and Reps:

  • Beginners: 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.
  • Intermediate: 4 sets of 8-10 repetitions.
  • Advanced: 5 sets of 6-8 repetitions.

Tips from our Fitness Instructor:

Incorporate seated leg curls into your leg training routine to effectively work the hamstrings, the largest muscle in your legs. Focus on the mind-muscle connection, ensuring that you feel your hamstrings engage during each repetition. Keep a controlled tempo throughout the exercise, both during the lifting and lowering phases, for maximum benefit.

 

Step-Ups: To train leg muscles

Incorporate step-ups into your leg workout routine to enhance your leg strength and overall lower body development. Always prioritise proper form and technique to reduce the risk of injury and maximise the effectiveness of this exercise. Consult with a fitness professional if you’re unsure about your form or have any concerns regarding your fitness program.

Step-Ups

How to Do It:

  1. Stand in front of a sturdy bench or step platform with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Step up onto the bench with your right leg, ensuring your entire right foot is on the platform.
  3. Straighten your right leg as you step up, using your right glute and quadriceps to lift your body.
  4. At the top of the step, pause briefly to ensure balance.
  5. Carefully lower your body back to the starting position, keeping your right foot on the bench.
  6. Perform the desired number of repetitions with your right leg before switching to your left leg.

Sets and Reps:

  • Beginners: 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions per leg
  • Intermediate: 4 sets of 8-10 repetitions per leg
  • Advanced: 5 sets of 6-8 repetitions per leg

Tips from our Fitness Instructor:

Engage your core throughout the movement to maintain stability and balance. Use a controlled pace, avoid using momentum to lift your body, and make sure your knee is aligned with your ankle when your foot is on the platform.

 

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Wall Sits: Added Exercises for your leg extension

Wall sits are an excellent addition to any leg workout routine, and by following these guidelines, you can develop impressive leg strength and endurance over time. Always prioritise proper form and consult with a fitness professional to ensure you’re performing these exercises safely and effectively.

how to wall sits

 

How to Do It:

  1. Find a clear wall and stand with your back against it.
  2. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and your heels should be about two feet away from the wall.
  3. Slowly slide your back down the wall while bending your knees.
  4. Keep sliding down until your knees are at a 90-degree angle or parallel to the floor. Your thighs should be parallel to the ground as well.
  5. Maintain this position with your back against the wall, ensuring your core is engaged for the strength training.

Sets and Reps:

  • Beginner: Start with 2-3 sets of 30 seconds each.
  • Intermediate: Aim for 3-4 sets of 45-60 seconds.
  • Advanced: Challenge yourself with 4-5 sets of 60 seconds or more for an intense leg session.

Tips from our Fitness Instructors:

Focus on maintaining a straight back throughout the exercise to avoid unnecessary strain on your lower back. Keep your weight on your heels and your knees in line with your ankles to prevent knee discomfort. Breathe steadily and avoid holding your breath. Inhale and exhale to stay relaxed and focused. To make wall sits more challenging and incorporate strength training, consider holding a dumbbell or a weighted plate on your thighs.

 

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